The 10 Incredible Cities to Visit in the South of France

Menton City In Southern France

The South of France is a picturesque region with stunning landscapes, a warm climate, and rich culture. It's no wonder it has become one of Europe's most popular travel destinations. From glamorous beach resorts to quaint medieval villages, the South of France has something to offer everyone. In this article, we'll introduce you to 10 incredible places to visit in this region, including the iconic cities of Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Nice, as well as lesser-known gems like Eze, Gordes, and Avignon. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable travel experience.

 

The 10 Incredible Cities to Visit in the South of France

 

1. Nice

 

France Capital City Nice in the Evening after Sunset

 

Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, is known for its stunning beaches and picturesque Promenade des Anglais. Nice is also famous for its art museums, such as the Muse Matisse and the Muse Marc Chagall. Visitors can also explore the colorful Old Town, where they can find quaint cafes and local markets. Here are the must-see attractions: 

  • Promenade des Anglais: A long, picturesque promenade that runs along the coast, offering stunning views of the sea and the city.
  • Vieille Ville: The old town of Nice, with its colorful buildings, narrow streets, and charming cafes and restaurants.
  • Muse Matisse: A museum dedicated to the works of French artist Henri Matisse, featuring an extensive collection of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings.

2. Marseille

Marseille, the second-largest city in France, is a vibrant port city that offers a unique blend of modern and traditional culture. Visitors can explore the Old Port, the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, and the MuCEM museum. The city is also home to the Calanques, a series of stunning rocky inlets perfect for hiking and sightseeing. Here are some must-see and do in Marseille:

  • Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde: A stunning basilica on a hill overlooking the city, offering breathtaking coast views.
  • Muse d'Histoire de Marseille: A museum dedicated to the history of Marseille, featuring artifacts and exhibits from ancient times to the present day.

3. Cannes

Cannes is famous for its annual film festival, but there is much more to this city than just movies. Visitors can enjoy stunning beaches, luxurious hotels, and glamorous nightlife. To taste old-world glamor, visiting the historic Palais des Festivals is a must. The top attractions of Cannes are: 

  • La Croisette: A palm-lined promenade that runs along the coast, featuring luxury boutiques and hotels.
  • Le Suquet: The old town of Cannes, with its winding streets, charming cafes, and beautiful harbor views.
  • Muse de la Castre: A museum housed in a French medieval castle featuring a worldwide collection of art and artifacts.

4. Saint-Tropez

 

View of the city of Saint-Tropez

 

Saint-Tropez is a small town that has become synonymous with luxury and glamor. Visitors can explore the Old Town, where they can find traditional Provenal architecture and charming cafes. The city is also famous for its stunning beaches and lively nightlife, making it a popular destination for celebrities and jet-setters. Here are some must-see attractions in Saint-Tropez:

  • Plage de Pampelonne: A long, sandy beach popular with locals and visitors.
  • Vieux Port: The old port of Saint-Tropez, with its colorful boats and bustling cafes and restaurants.
  • Muse de l'Annonciade: A museum housed in a 16th-century chapel featuring a collection of modern art.

5. Avignon

Avignon is a historic city known for its impressive Papal Palace, which was once the seat of the Catholic Church. Visitors can also explore the historic city walls, the Pont Saint-Bnzet, and the Palais des Papes. The city is also known for its cultural events, including the Avignon Festival, which attracts visitors from around the world. Here are some must-see attractions in Avignon:

  • Palais des Papes: A massive palace that was once the seat of the Catholic Church in the 14th century is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 
  • Place de l'Horloge: A lively square in the heart of Avignon, surrounded by charming cafes and restaurants.
  • Rocher des Doms: A park on a hill overlooking the city, offering stunning views of the Rhne River and the surrounding countryside.

6. Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is a charming town that is famous for its artistic heritage. Visitors can explore the Muse Granet, which houses an impressive art collection from the 16th to the 20th century. The town is also known for its lively markets, where visitors can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Here are some must-see attractions in Aix-en-Provence:

  • Cours Mirabeau: A long, tree-lined avenue that is the heart of the town, featuring elegant buildings, fountains, and cafes.
  • Muse Granet: A museum featuring a collection of art from the 16th century to the present day, including works by Czanne and Picasso.
  • Cathdrale Saint-Sauveur is a stunning cathedral in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, with beautiful architecture and a rich history.

7. Montpellier

 

Comedy square with fountain of Three Graces Montpellier city in southern France

 

Montpellier is a lively university town that offers a unique blend of historic architecture and modern culture. Visitors can explore the historic city center, home to the stunning Saint-Pierre Cathedral and the Place de la Comdie. The town is known for its vibrant nightlife and cultural events, such as the Montpellier Danse Festival. Here are some must-see attractions in Montpellier:

  • Place de la Comdie: A lively square in the heart of Montpellier featuring beautiful architecture, charming cafes, and street performers.
  • Muse Fabre: A museum featuring a collection of art from the 15th century to the present day, including works by Delacroix and Courbet.
  • Jardin des Plantes: A beautiful botanical garden located in the center of Montpellier featuring a wide variety of plants and trees worldwide.

8. Arles

Arles is a historic city known for its impressive Roman monuments, including the Arena and the Theater. Visitors can also explore the Van Gogh Museum, which celebrates the life and work of famous artists. The town is also renowned for its cultural events, including the Rencontres d'Arles photography festival. Here are some must-see attractions in Arles:

  • Amphithtre d'Arles: A Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Les Alyscamps: A historic cemetery on Arles's outskirts featuring beautiful tombs and monuments.
  • Fondation Vincent van Gogh: A museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh, featuring a collection of his paintings and drawings.

9. Antibes

Antibes is a charming French Riviera town known for its beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. Here are some must-see attractions in Antibes:

  • Muse Picasso: A museum dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso, featuring a collection of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings.
  • Vieil Antibes: The old town of Antibes, with its narrow streets, charming cafes, and beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
  • Plage de la Gravette: A picturesque beach in the heart of Antibes featuring crystal-clear waters and stunning coastline views.

10. Nmes

 

Nimes Arena aerial view Southern France

 

Nmes is a historical city in southern France, known for its Roman ruins, beautiful architecture, and lively cultural scene. Here are some must-see attractions in Nmes:

  • Arnes de Nmes: A Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Maison Carre: A well-preserved Roman temple in the heart of Nmes featuring beautiful architecture and rich history.
  • Muse de la Romanit: A museum dedicated to the history of Nmes and the surrounding region, featuring a wide range of artifacts and exhibits.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the South of France is a destination that offers something for everyone. From the stunning beaches and glamorous nightlife to the historic architecture and cultural events, there is no shortage of things to see and do. The South of France is a dream destination for any traveler looking for a mix of luxury, culture, and natural beauty. We hope this article has inspired you for your next trip to this stunning region. To learn more about travel and get more travel inspiration, check out Leisure.com, where you'll find a wealth of information on travel destinations, tips, and recommendations. Happy travels!

 

FAQs

Which major cities are in the South of France?

Some major cities in the South of France include Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Avignon.

What is the most touristy city in France?

The most touristy city in France is undoubtedly Paris, which attracts millions of visitors annually. However, among the cities in the South of France, Nice and Cannes are among the most popular tourist destinations due to their beautiful beaches, mild climate, and glamorous atmosphere.

Which city in France is the prettiest?

Beauty is subjective, but many people consider Paris the prettiest city in France due to its iconic landmarks, historic architecture, and romantic ambiance. However, some of the most picturesque cities in the South of France are Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Saint-Paul de Vence.

Which area to stay in the South of France?

The South of France has many great areas to stay, depending on your preferences. Nice and Cannes are great choices for those looking for a lively beach town with lots of dining and nightlife options. Aix-en-Provence and Avignon offer a more cultural experience with stunning architecture, museums, and art galleries. The hilltop village of Saint-Paul de Vence is perfect for those seeking a quiet, charming retreat with lovely countryside views.

When is the best time to visit the South of France?

The best time to visit the South of France is during the summer, from June to August when the weather is warm and sunny. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices. Spring and fall are also great times to visit, as the weather is mild and the groups are more minor.

How do I get around the South of France?

The best way to get around the South of France is by car, which allows you to explore the region at your own pace. However, if you prefer not to drive, some trains and buses connect the major cities and towns in the region.

What should I pack for a trip to the South of France?

You should pack light, comfortable clothing for warm weather and a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. You may also want to bring a sweater or jacket for cooler evenings and comfortable shoes for walking and exploring.

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